Reporting from Beirut — Syrian forces widened a countrywide crackdown early Friday in defiance of growing international demands for an immediate end to violence, launching dawn raids that killed a woman near the Turkish border and a male protester in a Damascus suburb, according to reports gathered by Syrian activists.
Fridays have been the largest days of protests throughout the Arab revolutions. Today was expected to provide a critical test of whether the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad would heed the increasing international warnings to cease attacks on demonstrators.
Turkey, a neighbor and until recently an ally of Assad, said this week it would be watching Syria closely in coming days as it weighed calls for tough measures. On Friday, Turkey's Zaman newspaper reported that the Turkish military -- apparently alarmed by Syrian raids near the Turkish border -- had called up all retired officers to deal with the growing tensions, sending many to provinces along the frontier with Syria.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that she was pushing other countries, particularly China and India, to join in before the United States would call for Assad to step down. A continuation or escalation of violence by Syria would strengthen Clinton's hand.